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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  September 22, 2009 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT

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it's been older, more veteran american politicians who brought this up and jimmy carter and nancy pelosi and younger folks, people under 50, like the president, very dismissive of this idea. when you look at the overall numbers, a vast majority of the country personally likes this president. even when they don't disagree with this policy. it gives some evidence to the argument the white house makes which is, you know, look, there is an extreme element here that doesn't like us, but it's a very small percentage of the country. the vast majority of the country likes this guy and maybe there is too much attention being given to the small minority. >> i'm not sure nancy pelosi will like you describing her as older. she's a veteran. >> seasoned, wise. >> let's talk about foreign policy. what they describe as a frank exchange. frank is diplomatic code. >> with earnest there and
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earnest and frank and not so nice. basically the israelis are saying we'll freeze settlements for six to nine months and the palestinians are saying, wait, you had promised years ago, but before this prime minister that you would freeze period and the u.s. is backing the politicians on this part of the negotiations. barack obama is saying, let's get going. this is not a time to negotiate about the size of the table, this is time to get moving, but what leverage does he have. >> the entire foreign policy doctrine, he won't describe it this way. i believe that he, himself, has an ability that he can get, this is a photo-op and what the israelis have described it privately but they felt the need to give this to the president. so -- >> forced to do nothing. >> that's right. the white house will say, hey, that in itself is a victory. the fact that we force the photo-op. at least it's a beginning, but i
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tell you, not much to hang your hat on. we'll see. i think the next two or three months what the follow-up is going to be. you don't have -- didn't seem like an optimistic george mitchell the united states/middle east special honor. he came back empty handed and they're trying to make a big deal by just having the meeting and the israelis they'll take this strong stance until they know abbas speaks for all palestinians. they don't trust abbas could speak for the territories that are controlled by hamas. >> a lot more of the complete "wall street journal" plan and health care. >> big study on afghanistan and health care, of course. very important numbers that this white house, they think health care was difficult, wait till they tackle afghanistan. >> perfect segue. thank you, chuck. >> you got it. right now we have karen young who has described a major strategy shift that could take place in the afghan war, the top u.s. commander there has been
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told no new troops until that strategy is reviewed. senior diplomatic reporter from the "washington post" who describes, karen, you described a real division between the military on the ground and the people back in washington, the diplomatic and political side of this administration who do not want to be confronted with the specific request right now for more troops. >> well, secretary gates, the defense secretary has asked general mcchrystal to hold off on his specific resource request until there is some meeting of the minds here in terms of where the strategy should go. general mcchrystal has made very clear where he thinks it should go to a full-out counterinsurgency strategy he has the backing in that general petraeus, the head of the central command and admiral mullein and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the white house has said, wait a minute, things have changed a lot since we started this
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endeavor in afghanistan, at least under the obama administration and we're going to consider all those changes and we're going to consider where we want to go and if this is the best way to get to our stated goal, which is eliminating al qaeda and maybe it's not. i think that has frustrated a lot of people in the military who thought that they were following the strategy that obama laid out last march. >> exactly. all of this talk about let's wait, we have to have the strategy before we decide what the resources are, begs the question, what was that last march. in the "washington post" you said obama's decision is complicated by a deepening divide and no guarantee of success whichever option he chooses. one observer characterizing the president's dilemma at the most extreme said he could send more troops and it would be a disaster and destroy the political party or he can send no more troops and it will be a
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disaster and the republicans will say he lost the war. >> they realize this is a very, very difficult situation. obama promised from the beginning he would not ignore the afghan war the way he said president bush did and he would fully resource it in order to prevail. they're not sure no matter what they do will prevail and trying to position themselves to try to get the best outcome, again, for this very specific objective of making gains against al qaeda and the president has said destroying al qaeda. there are people who are saying, well, given what is going on in afghanistan with the politics there, maybe this is not the best strategy. maybe we can't make afghanistan into a modern, working democracy with a viable government and viable security for all afghans. >> karen, one of the people speaking out on this was bill
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clinton, questioned on "today" program by matt lawer, let's watch. >> i think they're teetering there and i think what the president may want to do, this is up to him. we have taken him at his word. he wanted to ask a lot of questions about this, but i also believe that while asking questions he may want to see how this election controversy is resolved. let them come with the final count. the president is prudent in wanting to take a little time just to see how this, the political situation levels out because you can help someone fight a battle, but you can't fight their battles for them. in the end, they have to fight with you. >> and the politics, the election in afghanistan, which bill clinton was referring to, have not worked out the way the administration had originally had hoped. >> you know, andrea, in a strange sort of way the disaster that the afghan election has been so far has actually given the administration a little
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breathing space. they can say, until this is worked out and until we know who our partners are going to be in afghanistan, we'll use that time to think about our strategy. the problem, of course, is that it's not very likely to work out in a way that will contribute to whatever policy they decided. it looks like president karzai will be declared the winner and will be re-elected and there will be questions about how legitimate that government is. >> karen deyoung, thank you for your reporting in today's "washington post." coming up next, rachel maddow weighing in on the growing debate over where the u.s. strategy is heading in afghanistan and where it should go from here. plus, former president bill clinton saying racism is not the principal factor behind the criticism targeting president obama. so what is?
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house majority leader is echoing republican demands that the top u.s. commander in afghanistan testified to congress immediately. rachel maddow, of course, host msnbc "the rachel maddow show" and joins us now. >> thanks for having me here. >> let's talk about this whole conflict, a tap dance that we're seeing with the commanders. don't officially request the troops, even though it's been leaked all over town. they want the troops, they want more troops, they think that it is necessary to avoid mission failure, but the question then becomes, what is the mission? what is the strategy? and how does the president get out of this bind? >> i think the thing that was
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surprising about general mcchrystal's, they could not do more if they had more resources. what was surprising was how damming he was about the afghan government. these strong terms he's using. if the mission is that afghanistan has a prestanding state for the u.s. commanders to have that sort of assessment of what we're standing on made it seem like the mission was almost undoable. >> when the president said we have to have the strategy before we decide on the resources. last march there was a big speech and we all covered it and we talked to depth and that speech was for military and civilian reconstruction and stabilization in afghanistan. what was that about? >> well, one very big thing happened which was the disastrous afghan election. i think your previous guest was right. i think that changes the calculus a little bit. we think about starting year nine of this war on october 7th
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and what for? what are the 68,000 americans doing there now. so that afghanistan can have a real government and a real central state. is that possible under any circumstances? nobody knows. can america give that to them? it doesn't feel like that. that election made it feel more than ever. >> if the president defines the mission as, we've got to stop al qaeda from having a safe haven so that they can regroup and attack the united states, we've got to protect the homeland. that's hard to do without stabilizing the whole country. and if you pull back from that, how does he avoid, you know, incredible criticism from the john mccains and joe liebermans and, you know, neocons, republican and democrats, if this young president, you know, pulls back from a war that he has described as a necessary war. >> i think strategically and politically the big picture is with him.
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we can have afghanistan say safe havens and al qaeda has safe haven now and pakistan. why wouldn't thiey have a safe haven in pakistan. the neoconservatives have been wrong about everything they thought about. to look at joe lieberman and john mccain on some issues and we're worried about getting criticism from you, criticism from them is almost a badge of honor in american politics. those guys have never seen a war they didn't want to escalate and never looked at a country they didn't want to start a war with. >> the whole question of race, the president dealt with it, i thought, very effectively on letterman, he was black people before voted for him. >> i believe that some of the right wing extremists, which oppose president obama, are also
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racially prejudice. and we prefer not to have an aphfrican-american president. but i don't believe all the people who oppose him on health care and all the conservatives are racist. and i believe if he were white, every single person who opposes him now would be opposing him then. >> did clinton have the balance right, as far as you're concerned? what do you think? >> i think talking about racism on one hand is very simple and on the other hand very hard. it motivates american politics and racial prejudice affects lots of our hearts, it is who we are. part of the human condition and american condition. on the other hand, when you're talking about individual people and whether it motivates certain people, unless people will admit overtly, it's hard to say that's what's motivating it. multi-facetted thing and i think the most important thing for us as a country is to decide
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whether calling something racism helps us get past it. i don't feel it is a lot of shame, mostly just anger and constructive to say stop calling each other racist and let's shut down racism when we see it and just demand the basic level of civility. >> fascinating to see bill clinton, president obama is going to be opening the clinton global initiative later this afternoon and they have that lunch in the italian restaurant in grenwich village and hillary clinton denying all interviews because it is president obama's week and i will not try to get into his spotlight there or his space. watching the clintons navigate all this this week is so interesting, especially after the primaries and the election of after a year ago. >> the curse of the clintons is that everything they do is fascinating, no matter what they're talking about. we're all riveted and the
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american politics of this generation. everything they say is interesting. who wouldn't die to be a fly on the wall at that lunch between the president and the former president last week. so, everything they do is interesting. if hillary clinton would let me interview her and some day if i live to be 100, it will happen. >> are you watching? >> i promise it will be substantive and useful. i want to know how she enjoys being secretary of state and whether she feels she's accomplishing a lot of things that motivated her to seek higher office. we haven't heard a lot from her about what she thinks about that job and it would be fascinating to know. >> from traveling with her, she is loving it and especially redefining it to expand it to the women and human rights issues that she focused in on beijing more than a year ago. rachel maddow, what do you have tonight? >> tonight is a wildcard because
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right now we're still talking health care and starting their big markup, not only substantive legislative notion but both politically important and, honestly, quite fun to cover. another day of wild bust politics. >> all right, a lot of log rolling in the senate. >> that's right. >> thank you. it's a treat. thanks for coming in. coming up next, president obama attempts to restart middle east peace talks but with expectations of any real break through running very low. in today's meeting, anything more than just a photo-op. you're watching andrea mitchell reports only on msnbc.
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hands polightly, will anything more come of this photo-op? joining me now deanna with the middle east understanding and is the palestinian citizen of israel who lives in ramallah, as i say. it's good to see you again. in the past we've seen each other in the field during these negotiations. in your observations of this meeting, it was pretty tough, the president came out, clearly impatient and said that the talks had been frank. that is diplomatic code for no bridging of gaps. >> yes. the reason is the israelis refused to put into place a settlement freeze and without a settlement freeze all the palestinian political parties have said to president abbas that they will not support negotiations. crucially important that president abbas walk away with a settlement freeze and sadly it seems the u.s. administration shifting from that position. >> how are they shifting? what is your readout from the reading because in the past president obama took a very hard
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line based on political criticism here for it saying there had to be a freeze that israel could not proceed with any expansion of expanding settlement which they say is, "natural growth." >> the u.s. hasn't done enough when it came to calling for a settlement freeze, there was a call, but not backed by anything. it's important to keep in mind that somebody like senator mitchell had great success when it came to northern ireland couldn't make a break through when it came and the israeli refused to listen to him. while there was a call for a settlement freeze, it wasn't backed and now is the time that the u.s. needs to back it with some teeth and otherwise president abbas' credibility will slip. >> is there any running room, negotiating room that president abbas has to permit israel to
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expand the settlements according to their definitions of population growth without building new settlements. >> really, there isn't. if you look at the settlements themself in the past few years have close to tripled in size. 40% of the settlems are not inhabited and not really natural about what israel claims to be natural growth. the increase in the territories because they have given incentives to israelis to move into the territories. >> what about a six to nine-month freeze? >> the problem is without any tease they will not take any hold and what the politicians are really looking for is some sort of teeth. what is it the u.s. is going to do to make sure the u.s. takes shape. we never had that monitoring. >> what you're hearing from your side is that the u.s. shifted today and is willing to give israel a little more running room and that is, of course, something that the palestinians do not accept.
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>> precisely. what i'm hearing is that there is a shift rather than calling for a freeze that has been called for. in fact, politicians demanding a dismantlement and what is needed is much more than that. it is important to keep in mind that you can't have negotiations on territory while at the same time one side is eating up that territory. if president obama is really serious about that, he will have to take a more serious line and not follow the path that is followed by president bush and previous presidents. >> which frankly we don't hear enough in the u.s. and in u.s. media is that you can't negotiate borders for the eventual palestinian state if bit by bit israel is expanding the settlements and taking away the final territory. >> precisely. right now 60% of the west bank is actually controlled by the israelis. more than one-tenth of the population is israeli and more and more land is being taken
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away by the israelis for the settlements. what they're calling for is equality that israel recognize and respect international law and that's it. this is what the fundamental demand has been and i hope this is one that the obama administration remains firm on. >> george mitchal and the president has said at the same time is that the politicians have to do a better job of security guarantees to israel. >> well, the politicians have and, in fact, in the latest report card the prints getting glowing reviews regarding security. the two issues are connected. it's not a security problem that has political ramifications, it's a political problem with security ramifications. so, you need to address the politics. without addressing the politics, you can certainly put into place security measures and they won't last. so what we that is based on a political agreement where israel ends its occupation and gives the palestinians the occupations that they deserve. >> thank you so much.
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good to see you. thanks for joining us here. president obama signals a more aggressive approach to state politics by speaking up about new york's gubernatorial race. would that undercut appeals to stay above the fray? since arthur's been eating purina one, he has blossomed... into an incredibly strong, healthy cat. his coat is incredibly shiny and soft and very thick. everybody thinks he's the most handsome cat they've ever seen. [ woman announcing ] purina one for indoor cats... unlocks the brilliance of nature... with a natural fiber blend that helps minimize hairballs... and maintain a healthy weight. [ laurie ] he's a character. he brings so much laughter into this household. and he's the best-lookin' cat there is. [ announcer ] it's amazing what one can do. to silence headaches... doctors recommend tylenol... more than any other brand... of pain reliever. tylenol rapid release gels... release medicine fast. so you can stop headaches... and feel better fast.
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as we get older, our bodies become... less able to absorb calcium. he recommended citracal. it's a different kind of calcium. calcium citrate. with vitamin d... for unsurpassed absorption, to nourish your bones. what's driving the president's latest involvement including colorado, virginia and new york and white house reporter for the "washington post" joins us now. this could have been a misfire. did they really think they could get away with a quiet intervention at new york's messy state politics? >> no, of course, not, after talking to governor patterson word would leak and it wasn't
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the government to be fair and a senior white house adviser and political director who went up and talked to him about it and the white house said he seemed receptive at first and he doesn't know his poll numbers are quite so hot and he seemed like he heard them out but later said he would stay in the race. so, the white house is managing the fall out from this now and their hope is that if would go away and some expectations from democrats that he would get out of the race. >> in fact, one leading democrat, bill clinton was asked about that on "today" program. this is what he had to say about david patterson. >> he's not in good shape now, but i will say this about david patterson. he is a good man. i think he will do in the end what he believes is best for new york and i think we should trust him to do that. i trust him to do that. and i think he will run and if
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he thinks chances are one in ten or worse, i think he probably won't. >> what is doing the right thing? >> we heard a lot of coated language and al sharpton tweeted a similar message on his account yesterday. so, i think, obviously, the white house leading democrats think right now the right thing would be for him to step aside, but it is a pretty extraordinary level of involvement from the white house and then the white house, obviously, sending out cues of what bill clinton and others are picking up on. >> we heard the president is reaching out to the former governor and mayor of richmond to try to intervene and be supportive to endorse the president. >> and, of course, president obama has been to virginia and campaigned for them and not a primary that he is waiting into and trying to get an endorsement and what you see is a robust operation and this is the white house that got his political aufsz up and running and that's
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something john mccain said he wouldn't do and they want to win the two races in 2009 in virginia and new jersey and they want to win in 2010. >> given the stakes and how closely margin is and the lack of a margin of error in the senate, they need to win these races if they're going to get their agenda through. the white house says it is coincidence that president obama will host a reception with heads of state tomorrow. across town while iranian president ahmadinejad will address the u.s. general assembly. coincidence? i think not. ahmadinejad is en route to new york but before he left tehran the iranian leader delivered a hardline to israel pledging to cut the hand of anyone who tries to attack iran. former u.s. ambassador to the u.n. and ambassador, also, to russia and israel and a number of other places. thank you very much for joining us, ambassador. first of all, the warnings from iran to israel.
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what is the likely impact of that. >> the likely impact of that is going to be to make it harder to do anything with iran as the president has wanted to do. it seems almost faded in advance to somehow put road blocks up to progress in that area. i, nevertheless, despite all the difficulties ahmadinejad has said nothing new and repeated it more often and done it more close to the time. and i think that this, in some way, may be a serious effort on his part somehow to block the initiatives the president has taken to try to open the conversations with iran. one can only, i think, in some dismay conclude that because i think the president has been on entirely the right track and pushed ahead under great difficulties, but the difficulties are now mounting. it's no surprise that the president is having a reception. the timing of the reception is, perhaps, fortuitous, as you
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said. there is no requirement that the president sit there and listen to president ahmadinejad. obviously, what president ahmadinejad says and does in the u.n. is his own business but if it keeps on in the same line and not add to the warmth of his reception. >> the former prime minister was at the pentagon meeting with bill gates yesterday and made it clear that he will not take the military option off the table and we were told privately that the u.s. was trying to talk israel down but if diplomacy does not work and given a weak look for the diplomacy that israel believes by the end of the year or mid-winter it needs to take military action against iran. >> no one has ever thought that israel would take the option off the table. what's been interesting is both president bush and president obama made it clear that in terms of being cooperative and
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overflight rights and things like that that are thought by most military to be necessary for an israeli strike and the u.s. is not putting itself in that position. >> the u.s. is not giving israel a green light but throughout the world it will be presumed if israel does something that the u.s. had given them at least some -- >> one of the many reasons why the military strike is so problematic, there's no certainty that one would get all the targets, for example. there's no certainty, obviously, that the iranians will not respond and they have a strong position from which to do so. drive iran from their cleared position which is no flukelnucl weapons and it would not, in fact, stimulate hezbollah and hamas to launch attacks against israel and given its strong commitment to israel and the
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united states should not move away from its commitment to israel and the united states should do nothing at this stage, as long as there is an opportunity for diplomacy to work to encourage israel to proceed with a military activity against iran. >> we are told that israel is determined to reserve the option of going it alone, no matter how, you know, difficult it might be to do it without u.s. help to overfly iraq, for instance. if israel were to go it alone, what, what problems does this create for the united states? >> you just touched upon them. i think israel, of course, has never given up its options to go alone. i was ambassador to israel many years ago that was in the forefront of israel security policy and i don't think that has been relinquished. what it can create for america is, obviously, a sense to create throughout the muslim and arab world that israel would not have undertaken something if they would not have gotten some kind of wink and a nod whether that
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is true or not. we will be involved if there is an israeli strike. absolutely. >> is there anything that president obama can do to stop israel from taking such action if time runs out of the diplomacy? >> the united states has a powerful influence and the united states is now working its own efforts to try to find a solution. president obama, i believe, is forthright publicly and privately. we have to wait and see how this stage turns out. there were reports that they would reexamine the situation this month and at the end of the year we have to wait and see what he concluded those examinations and much of that depends what happens now and the end of december. >> ambassador pickering, thank you very much. >> thank you very much, andrea. and coming up next, david lane, president of the one campaign on why private investors could play a key role
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president obama is making it clear today that africa is a top priority for his administration. right now he is hosting a working lunch with subsuheron african leaders and joining us now president and ceo of the one campaign. first of all, the importance of him making this a priority, a major priority and speaking about this more broadly when he goes before the clinton global initiative later this afternoon. >> i think what is interesting, today's lunch is not extraordinary, not routine, yet, but it's not extraordinary that the administration is engaging with africa this way. >> and the presidential time is at a premium. you don't schedule something unless you really want to put attention. >> their framework is clearly the framework they use is engagement. you saw some of this with secretary clinton on your trip to africa.
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president obama laid out your message in cairo and he said the future of africa is up to africans and him listening today to aphroruens on where things need to go. >> let's watch. >> we must start from the simple premise that africa's future is up to africa. but the true sign of success is not whether we are a source of perpetual aid that helps people scrape by. it's whether we are partners and building the capacity for transformational change. >> now, one way to do that according to the one campaign is to get the g-20 to meet in africa. >> it's a campaign we have right now and a lot of people in pittsburgh pressing the cause as the g-20 gathers there. nothing quite like seeing things on the ground in terms of theal changes and also the opportunities.
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and africa is represented in the g-20 only by south africa which is a middle income country. we know they listen a lot to their fellow leaders and we'd like to see the g-20 go to africa for a meeting some time in the near future in part so they can reflect the as perations of the whole global community. >> let's talk about darfur for a moment because there's been some criticism that the united states has not shown enough leadership on this and your point of view on that? >> yes, i think it's just a very tough problem that they're trying to balance african leadership with our own human rights concerns and i'm confident that they'll keep pressing ahead. >> hillary clinton has, as you've mentioned, made a real focus of her attention as secretary of state, africa. at the same time she's been criticized for not showing up leadership in the middle east and else where in the world and her foreign policy and how would
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you assess her role in trying to bring attention to subsuheron africa. >> she carved out ten days on the trip, seven different countries she went to, i think was very important and very impressive. by the way, her message was also a very rich one like president obama that our relationship is a two-way street and really about partnership. for their part we expect africans to be responsive to the needs of their people and put together institutions and government and they're looking to us and what president obama was hearing at lunch today portrayed investment so you can really generate prosperity and growth. >> as the g-20 gathers in pittsburgh this week, one poster trying to put attention to that. we're showing it now, the g-21 trying to increase your visibility in pittsburgh and it says one world, one recovery and africa is part of the solution. >> we're used to going to these gatherings we and other
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activists. don't forget the poor. oftentimes a social justice and very much in tune with what president obama and the g-20 are saying. it's not about charity, but self-interest. the stated highest goal of this g-20 meeting is for sustained accelerated recovery and sustainable and includes everyone. our point about africa, it is actually a continent of 900 million consumers and producers, as well. most americans don't know this because they oftbentimes sees stories and 18 african were growing by 5.5% a year and that would be growing and they are part of the global economy and we need to be sure when the rich nations gather at the g-20 or the g-8s that they're finding ways to address that. >> david lane, thank you very much. be on "saturday night live" this
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saturday night for the season opener. >> looking forward to it. >> right back here at 30 rock. >> thank you. >> what political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours, that's next right here on msnbc. of butternut squash, blended with delicate herbs. v8 golden butternut squash. from campbell's. a soup so velvety and delicious you won't be able to contain yourself. campbell's v8 soups. with all the pet hair in the air my eyes would really itch. but now i have new zyrtec® itchy eye drops. no other allergy itchy eye drop works faster or longer. zyrtec® itchy eye drops work fast i can love the air™. (announcer) find it in the allergy aisle.
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if you had to have dinner with one of the following political conservatives, which one would you choose? rush limbaugh, glenn beck, ann coulter? >> i guess of the three i would take rush limbaugh because it would be very painful and he would come with the painkillers. >> that old yom kippur defense just doesn't work, barney. joining us now live via skype, white house reporter for the "washington post" and author of
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the the blog "the fix." health care. can we segue from barney frank on prescription drug abuse to health care? >> you could segue from anything, i think. can i tell you really quick, when i was a young reporter i had an interview with barney frank. i had ten questions written down. in the space of six minutes i was in and out of his office. very quick answerer, that barney frank. >> he's a mike mansfield. another reference. >> scared the daylights out of me. we're seeing them mark up max baucus's bill, actually trying to get it ready for a floor vote. we still don't know when that is coming. a lot of skepticism. a lot of this revolves around one republican senator, olympia snowe from maine and whether democrats can convince her to sign on to this bill giving them 60 seats, what they need to break filibusters and bring it to the floor for a vote.
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a lot is being done for one person here. lots of republicans unhappy, including chuck grassley, ranking member of the finance committee who has said repeatedly that he thinks this bill is being rushed, that democrats are only interested in the white house and timetable of the white house as opposed to gives it right. >> the president will be giving his big speech tomorrow at the united nations. >> you have the biggest domestic policy fight certainly in the first year of the obama presidency, potentially the first four years of the obama presidency. addressing the world community tomorrow, we have seen he'll be very stalt statesman like on the world stage. i would guess we'll see it again. he's already spoken today on climate change seshessentially saying we as well as china want to do more to eliminate global warming, not laying out lots of specifics. some countries unhappy with the
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lack of specificity here. my guess is he would talk about the u.s.'s role in the world. of course it's a difficult time. afghanistan. lots of controversy we've been talking about whether we need more troops or not. a lot on his plate this week. >> all right. thanks so much for joining us from home. read more from chris on his blog. i'm andrea mitchell in new york. among our guests on the show tomorrow, former secretary of defense william cohen and senator joe lieberman. contessa brewer and melissa francis will be picking up our coverage next. join them on "it's the economy." you're watching msnbc. you were right. these healthy choice fresh mixer thingys, they taste fresh... say it again! they taste fresh. wait. what are you doing? got it. you're secretly taping me? cook it fresh, strain it fresh,
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the plan to go to the very banks they have bailed out to borrow back some cash to have on hand to pay off depositors. >> millions of americans out of work. many are seeing unemployment benefits running out. we'll talk to the congressman pushing to extend those benefits for a a little longer. >> moammar ga-- dektectives supposed to be searching a house for clues. instead searched for a score on nintendo wii. >> what an understanding guy i wish i worked for. "it's the economy."
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i'm melissa francis. >> i'm contessa brewer. right now looking live at the republicans. these are the folks on the finance committee. they're marking up the big health care reform bill. let's listen in. >> so only then will there be a bill. then after there's a bill, it's got to be merged with the work we did in the health and education committee to produce a combined bill. at least that's our understanding. after there's a combined bill, then we'll have to have word from the congressional budget office about how much this bill costs. so we should not move forward any serious debate on the senate floor on the health care reform bill until we can answer the two questions, have you read the bill, and the answer needs to be yes, and number two is, do you know exactly how much it will cost, and the answer needs to be yes. >> it does seem to be an interesting way to reorganize one-sixth of the entire economy with a concept paper and then
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say, trust us. we don't have a -- we don't have a bill. there isn't a bill yet to react to. but one thing that has happened already since last week is the 35% excise tax is now 40%. that's already gone up. and i think as this process moving forward, the american people are going to want to know the answer to the questions -- >> right there, these republicans now responding to this bill. they're frustrated because they say we don't have a cohesive piece of legislation at this point to say yes or no to. they're going through the markup process on the finance committee bill. they have to combine that with what came out of the health committee and then go back to the house -- then the senate moves on it. then go back to the house of representatives and try to come up with some cohesive legislation. a complicated process. >> a lot of the debate centers around cost. how much are we going to pay. how much sit really going to cost?

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